The Lebanese army has taken the opportunity of Israel's brief invasion of south-east Lebanon to move back into the strategic border area which it handed over to Palestinian guerrilla forces two years ago.
GV Lebanese troops & trucks long road (4 shots)
GV Lebanese tank ditto(2 shots)
GV Troops & trucks at border area (3 shots)
GV Border village
GV ZOOM IN Remains of damaged houses & foliage(3 shots)
SV Downed telephone wires
SV Troops repair lines(2 shots)
GV Demonstrators with banners and coffins through Beirut (2 shots)
STV PAN Demonstrators with coffins & women chanting (2 shots)
Initials SGM/0303 SGM/0250
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Background: The Lebanese army has taken the opportunity of Israel's brief invasion of south-east Lebanon to move back into the strategic border area which it handed over to Palestinian guerrilla forces two years ago.
The new situation - whether temporary or permanent - is now the subject of an intense public debate in Beirut, a debate which is seen by observers to be critical both for the stability of the Lebanese state and for the future of the commandos as a force in Middle East politics.
When Israeli troops pulled back across their border on Monday (28 February) afternoon, the Lebanese army quickly followed them into the mountainous Arqoub region. It was the first time the Lebanese troops had been seen in strength there since 1969. The Palestinian resistance movement has had since then practically exclusive use of the region as a base for attacks inside Israel and the neighbouring occupied Syrian territory.
Visnews cameraman Ken Ludlow was in the Arqoub on Tuesday (29 February) to film the army moving in.
In Beirut, a massive funeral procession for ten Palestinian commandos killed during the Israeli air strikes and ground attacks on Southern Lebanon turned into an anti-Government demonstration. Thousands marched through the city streets, carrying the coffins of the dead commandos and shouting anti-Government slogans to demand a harder line against Israel.
SYNOPSIS: The Lebanese army moved down into south-east Lebanon on Tuesday, following the Israel forces withdrawal after their brief invasion. It was the first time the Lebanese forces had been seen in the strategic border area for two years. Since 1969, guerrillas groups have had practically exclusive use of the area as a base for raids into Israel and neighbouring occupied Syrian territories. Tuesday's occupation has now thrown open the whole question of relations between the Government and the guerrilla forces.
The area the Lebanese army re-occupied on Tuesday, known as the Arqoub, suffered extensive damage during the Israeli air strikes and subsequent ground attacks. Local villagers now say they will remain in the area only as long as the army stays to protect them.
The army's first duty was to replace all vital communications links. Telephone lines had been cut during raids, and the aim was to restore all services as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, in Beirut, the funeral procession for ten commandos killed during the Israeli attacks had turned into a massive anti-Government demonstration.
Observers now fear civil strife between the Moslem half of the population, generally supporters of the commandos, and the Christians, more concerned with Lebanese sovereignty the Pan-Arab politics. The Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon have inflamed Moslem feelings and Tuesday's funeral procession was an indication of Moslem opinion against the rift which has now developed between the Government and the commandos.